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Why digital marketing is only 1% complete with izi Head of Marketing, Artyom Pushkin


Marketing has undergone a huge transition in recent decades. Marketing teams that used to create campaigns that appealed to as broad an audience as possible now have to understand how to target and personalize messaging to individuals. Understanding the way people get information, the sources they trust and the way they make decisions is critical to building a successful marketing campaign.

Perhaps that’s why Artyom Pushkin’s Master’s degree in sociology led him to work in marketing. He’s held a lifelong fascination for understanding people: their driving motivations, what makes them think, and ultimately, what makes them act. We sat down with Artyom to talk about the changes he’s seen in Marketing over the course of his career.

Artyom Pushkin | Interview

Artyom’s first foray into marketing came during his tenure at Wooppay, where he became Head of Marketing. At the time, the industry was seeing the sudden rise of digital marketing and this was the spark that showed him just how powerful marketing could really be.

In 2015, Artyom transitioned into telecommunications and became the Social Media Manager for Beeline, a large international Kazakhstani mobile network. He worked his way up to Performance Marketing Manager and then Head of Performance, learning the technicalities of the telecommunications industry as he progressed.

Finally, in November 2019, he became the Head of Marketing at the disruptive mobile network izi.

Can you tell me more about your company?

izi is a fully digital mobile network – we don’t have an office or any stores. The only thing a user needs to do is download the app, go through the registration process, scan their documents, sign the agreement, and order the SIM card. We then mail this out to them and once it arrives, they’re ready to go.

We are a new kind of mobile operator for a new era. People are moving away from bricks and mortar — convenience is everything; if they are able to do things online, they’ll go for that option. 

Our offering itself is also fairly unique. Here in Kazakhstan, every telecommunication company has bundles that expire at the end of the month, even if you don’t use all your data. However, izi lets you carry over your unused data, and this definitely sets us apart from the competition.

Why was the rise of digital marketing such a watershed moment for you?

For many years, marketing basically consisted of launching one generic campaign after another. Digital marketing has completely changed that: teams are becoming more agile, more innovative, and more personal.

People’s motivations and drivers are always changing — what made consumers buy a product 20 years ago is starkly different from what works now. As such, marketers can no longer rely on generic one-size-fits-all approaches. The industry is so reliant on data these days; it’s pretty much unthinkable to make a decision that’s not backed up by the numbers.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the marketing sector?

Marketing is such a critical aspect of any business’s success — it’s the key driver of growth — and as such, it’s an all-encompassing profession. A good marketing department must be able to master project management, data analytics, and is essentially responsible for achieving the company’s wider revenue goals. 

I’ve personally found this transition really enjoyable, as it’s allowed me to get more involved with different sides of the business before tying everything together.   

However, as much as marketing has leapt forward over the past couple of decades, there’s still a long way to go. I’m a big believer in the saying that marketing is only 1% done — very few marketing teams have a deep understanding of the data and their users’ behaviour, so there’s plenty more that can be achieved around this. As society progresses (with new technology coming to the fore), this transformation opens up an array of new opportunities and challenges in equal measure.

The changing role of marketing

As Artyom stated, marketing used to be fairly one-dimensional. Creative teams would sit down, think up a campaign, and roll it out across multiple channels: TV, radio, billboards, and newspapers.


Nowadays, however, marketing is a multi-faceted and multidisciplinary beast. In your marketing team you might well have: The leaders (in charge of providing strategic direction), data analysts, copywriters, graphic designers, ad specialists and more…

According to The Marketing Study Guide, marketing has evolved significantly in recent years. It started out as very sales-oriented, with marketers contacting anyone and everyone to build relationships and bring in revenue. 

After that, marketing began to focus heavily on the promotional mix: using mass marketing to increase a brand’s general presence and share of voice. The general idea was that if people don’t know you exist, they can’t buy from you — and this is still a fairly valid argument. 

But the modern marketer is far more than a mere promoter. They’re involved in every part of the company’s offerings: helping to design products that solve their customers’ pain points, acquiring new customers, retaining existing customers, ensuring the overall customer experience is up to scratch, to name a few. In other words, they’re profit drivers.

This all seems pretty intuitive — after all, hasn’t marketing always been about driving profit in one way, shape, or form? That’s true but the relationship between every pound of marketing spend and the return that it gets is now more closely linked than ever, and is analysed across an increasing number of both strategies and channels.

So what does this mean for you?

As much as anything, this requires a shift in mindset. Matt Lawson at Google defines profit-driven marketing as “moving digital marketing from a cost center to a profit center and extracting as much profit as possible out of your marketing spend” Lawson argues that modern marketers should ignore traditional efficiency metrics and focus on profits to win more customers.

Focusing solely on a Cost-Per-Acquisition goal, for example, means you’re measuring the efficiency of individual transactions rather than the profit from the total volume of transactions and this may mean that you’re throwing away potential income by focusing on one specific measure. A broader view is often better – for example, spending more in an area where you know you’ll get extremely loyal customers may translate to more profits in the long term.

So this means more accountability, more responsibility, and arguably more pressure.

But it also means more opportunity — so there’s never been a more exciting time to be a marketing professional.

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